Whoosh! Online
Edition Click here for MacavityCat's XenaVerse!


Season 3, episode 11
Series 311
1st release: 01-26-98
2nd release: 07-06-98
3rd release: 12-21-98
1st strip release: 01-20-99
2nd strip release:
Production number: V0405
Script number: 104
Approximate shooting dates: May/June 1997
Last update: 04-12-99

SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 3 by Philip Teo

Callisto (Hudson Leick)
Amy Morrison (Hope/Fayla)
David Taylor (Solan)
Ephiny (Danielle Cormack)
Jeff Boyd (Kaleipus)

Reece Rocewyk (Xenan)
Chad Bennett (Sentry)
Phil Adams (Centaur Delegate #1)

Written by Chris Manheim
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by Mark Beesley

(Pictures from "Gabrielle's Hope" -- the tub floating down the river, Xena prepared to kill Hope)
Xena: You lied to me.
Hope: My father's kingdom is at hand.
(Callisto stands with Hope. Xena has a bow and arrow.)
Callisto: Make her suffer.
(Xena holds Solan; she raises a crying scream to the heavens.)

(Scenes from the Deliverer-Gabrielle on the floating on the firey alter)
(Scenes from Gabrielle's Hope-xena trying to kill Hope, Hope in basket floating down the river)
Xena: You lied to me.
Gabrielle: I couldn't kill her.
(lava pit opening)
Hope: My father's kingdom is at hand.
Callisto: I always wanted a child.
Xena: She is NOT a child!
(Xena with bow and arrow)
(Callisto covered in arrows screaming)
Gabrielle: She is not evil. She is NOT!
Callisto: Make her suffer.
(Xena with Solan in her arms, screaming)

Xena and Gabrielle meet with their respective offspring, Solan and Hope. But the reunions are hardly happy, thanks to Callisto.

Xena and Gabrielle's relationship is strained after Callisto manipulates Gabrielle's daughter into killing Xena's son.

Xena and Gabrielle's friendship is strained after Callisto manipulates Gabrielle's daughter into killing Xena's son.

1st RELEASE: 01-26-98
An AA average of 6.1
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 9th with 6.9
(2) XENA 11th with 6.1
(3) HERCULES 13th with 5.6
(4) WALKER TEXAS RANGER 20th with 4.4
(5) STAR TREK 4.0

2nd RELEASE: 07-06-98
An AA average of 4.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 10th with 5.0
(2) XENA/HERCULES 14th with 4.2
(3) WALKER 16th with 4.1

3rd RELEASE: 12-21-98
An AA average of 3.8
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 9th with 6.1
(2) ER 12th with 5.1
(3) WALKER TR 19th with 4.0
(4) XENA/BAYWATCH 21st with 3.8
(5) Hercules 3.7
(6) Star Trek: DS9 3.5
(7) Stargate SG-1 2.8
(8) Mortal Kombat 2.7
(9) Earth: Final Conflict 2.3
(10) The Crow 2.2
(11) Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 2.1
(12) Night Man 2.0


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Xena and Gabrielle return to the land of centaurs where Xena's son, Solan, resides. Xena meets Solan and they exchange greetings. Gabrielle looks very sad while she watches them. Xena tells Kaleipus, the centaur who takes care of Solan, that she has not returned to claim her child but to ensure that a treaty between the centaurs and someone else (the Amazons?) goes as planned. Meanwhile, a little girl with red straw hair plays with a ball. It bounces into a pit and Callisto emerges.

Ephiny and her son Xenan are at the meeting, and Gabrielle tells Ephiny about the adventure in Britannia, (which happened a few months ago, she said), leaving out some pertinent details. She continues to lie about killing her daughter, saying the child died. Hope, calling herself Fayla (?) approaches Gabrielle and tells her Callisto is free. She says she has a message for Xena. Gabrielle takes the girl to the Warrior Princess, where "Fayla" tells her that Callisto says "She knows your secret and she's going to take it to the grave." Xena realizes that Callisto knows Solan is her son. "Fayla" returns to Callisto, and they talk about Xena. Hope tells Callisto that "as she (Xena) goes, so goes the world."

Xena and Kaleipus decide to hide Solan. He doesn't want to go, so Xena talks to him and convinces him to do as he's asked. Gabrielle runs into "Fayla" again and, while listening to the girl talk about her life, realizes this is her daughter Hope. Gabrielle does not reveal herself just yet but asks the girl to wait for her in a hut. After Gabrielle leaves, Hope says, "Bye bye -- mommy."

Callisto confronts Xena, who is hustling a hooded figure through the woods. Callisto thinks she is hiding Solan, but she really has Gabrielle hidden under the cloak. Kaleipus goes to the caves to check them out, and Hope is there. She kills him. Xena and Gabrielle find him in the woods as he dies. Solan tells Xena that he wants to live with her because they are friends, and because Kaleipus had told him that Xena would take care of him. Xena finally relents and tells him to pack his things; they will leave when Xena has taken care of Callisto. Callisto and Hope talk again. Callisto wants to kill Solan but Hope says no, she will do it. She tells Callisto to kill all the children. Gabrielle returns to the hut, searching for "Fayla," who comes in. Gabrielle sobs in relief at finding her safe. She tells "Fayla" who she really is. Hope says Callisto thinks she is really evil; Gabrielle tells her not to believe that. She sends Hope to a safe place, which is where Solan is. Gabrielle tells Xena what Hope says, that Callisto is going to kill the children. Xena asks Gabrielle how she can trust this child, not knowing the girl is Hope, and then Gabrielle reveals that the girl is Hope. Xena immediately tries to figure out how to kill her, and Gabrielle becomes defensive. "She is not a child. She is a body, an instrument for evil," Xena says. Gabrielle tells Xena she sent her to the hut Solan is in. Xena runs there and finds Solan dead. Gabrielle runs in. Xena tells her to get out. Xena screams and screams. Callisto hears her and smiles.

Hope returns to Gabrielle and tells her the boy was already dead when she went in the hut. Gabrielle appears to believe her, but then Hope mentioned Solan's name. Gabrielle realizes that Hope did kill him. Hope asks Gabrielle if they can just leave, and Gabrielle says yes, we'll go. Meanwhile, Xena attacks Callisto with arrows. Xena and the other men fighting with her have to retreat. Callisto goes to the caves where Ephiny is hiding with the children of the village. Xena follows and tells Callisto it's the end of the line, but Callisto says she doesn't want to fight Xena any more. Xena has won the war, Callisto says. She thought she'd feel better if she hurt Xena, but she doesn't. Xena says she won't let it go that easily, and they fight. Callisto shoots lightning bolts at Xena and the cave begins to collapse. The children and Ephiny escape. Callisto is trapped; Xena gets out at the last moment.

Gabrielle sits in a clearing with a dead child. She has poisoned Hope and killed her. She raises the poison to her own lips but does not drinks. Xena approaches, but says nothing. They look at each other for a very long time.

It is night, and the funeral pyres burn. Xena and Gabrielle stand far apart. Gabrielle cries, but Xena does not. Gabrielle turns to Xena and apologizes for not doing what she was told when Hope was born. She says Solan's name and Xena turns to her angrily. She tells Gabrielle never to mention his name. Gabrielle is shocked. "You lied to me," Xena says. "I trusted you and you lied to me. My son is dead ... because of you." After a silence, Gabrielle says, "I love you Xena." Another silence. She turns and walks away. Xena cries, then walks away in the other direction as the funeral pyres burn.


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

Well, I'm depressed. Not because the episode was bad, mind you: the episode was outstanding. But I hate seeing bad things happen to characters I like, and there isn't much worse than burying a child. This is pain that'll linger.

We seem to have found a vocation that with an even higher mortality rate than love interest for Xena or Gabrielle: offspring of Xena or Gabrielle. At this rate, I'm wondering how anybody survived long enough to produce The Xena Scroll's Janice and Mel. Combine that with Ming T'ien's luck with Lao Ma as his mom, and if I were Xenan, I'd start heading for the hills.

Xena was as friendly and relaxed with Solan as we've ever seen her. That's been stomped on pretty badly now, so who knows how long it will be before we see it again. But what a contrast to how she acted around Solan a year ago. Character development, ahoy!

It took me a little time to work out exactly what happened at the lava pit. As Hope said, she deliberately released Callisto. The effort from it knocked her weak, just like she had been after killing Kaleipus. (Small nit: why didn't killing Solan weaken her?) Did Hope release Callisto because she knew that Callisto would do a good job of tormenting Xena? Hope offered Callisto a place in Dahak's kingdom, but what was Callisto offering to Hope? The knowledge about Solan? And is it just me, or was Hope maneuvering to see to it that Xena and Gabrielle took out Callisto while Callisto was taking out them? That kid had a lot of nasty little plans wiggling in her head. She plotted the perfect way to get alone with Solan. Maybe that was the only reason why she released Callisto and set her loose on the village.

Gabrielle usually relies on Xena to solve problems; she protects her sidekick status. In this horrible instance, though, she's left to her own devices to solve her problem. Xena has banished her from her presence, and Gabrielle is left to deal with Hope on her own. And she does - decisively, cleanly, and finally. And painfully. It's a little reminiscent of the depths she found in herself in Destiny and The Quest, but now for carrying out horrid necessities instead of assuming nobility.

The killing of Meridian was debatable about how it affected Gabrielle's blood innocence - it was in self-defense, she was set up, it was a spur of the moment reaction. Not so now; every shred of that blood innocence is gone, and Gabrielle gave it up willingly. She planned the cold murder of her daughter, because she was left with the unthinkable choice between it and letting Hope kill more innocent people.

Perfect title for this episode: we get to see the maternal side of Xena, Gabrielle, AND Ephiny. Xena was reunited with Solan at last, and was willing to make it permanent, even if she still didn't tell him the true nature of their relationship. Gabrielle had found her lost daughter, after every sight of children and mention of the word "hope" had hit her like a physical blow. Ephiny's experience with motherhood was mostly used in this ep to allow her to reach out to and sympathize with first Gabrielle, then Xena, and try to be a friend to both. She doesn't succeed very much, and then gets relegated to child-hugger for the rest of the show, but we still got to see a different side to all three of the women: their responses around their children.

That kid who played Hope was pretty good; she did the wide-eyed innocent act without being TOO grating, and got some nasty evil looks in there, too. She should have let Callisto get some more time in with that hairbrush, though, even if Callisto was being pretty rough about it.

Xena wants very much to lay this all down at Gabrielle's feet, and she has a point, and Gabrielle is letting her do so. But there are very good arguments that Xena has some responsibility to claim here, too. The situation would probably never have come around if Xena hadn't been so blinded to revenge as to turn her back on Gabrielle in Britannia, and if she hadn't been so unwilling to discuss Hope's fate, maybe she and Gabrielle could have found a place for Hope to grow up that would have taught her differently, or at least taken care of her early if she had proved irredeemable. There's plenty of guilt here to go around, and right now Gabrielle is drowning in it, and Xena isn't going anywhere near it. I wonder if that little imbalance is going to be able to hold up.

This seems like stating the obvious, but I have to say it anyway: top-notch acting work by both Lucy and Renee. Gabrielle's quiet horror beside Hope's body and both their reactions to Solan's death left bruises on my gut. Watch Xena as Solan asks to live with her; it was something she wanted desperately to hear, but didn't dare ask for. Without words, an actor loses part of the tools she can use for conveying emotions and thoughts. Xena and Gabrielle spend a lot of time in this episode without words, but the emotions don't fail to come across.

I really loved the effect when Callisto was shot up like a pincushion, then her whole face fired up and the arrows shot back out of her like... well, like arrows. One small problem, though: shouldn't those arrows have struck the archers haft-first instead of head-first? Would have been lethal either way, but I was really expecting the feathers to bury in the guys and the blades to be left sticking out of them - would have added to the coolness factor.

Has killing Hope ended her predictions about Dahak's kingdom? She never specifically says that she's the one who's going to carry out his plans. Is Dahak gone now, or will he be coming back another way to try to git Xena? And what's his beef with Xena, anyway? I had thought he was mad because Xena had tried to kill Hope, but maybe it was because of killing the Deliverer? And what's this about the world's fate pinning on her?

Callisto's threats were things of beauty. "I know your little secret, and I'll take it to the grave" and "Flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone, blood of your blood... I can't wait to see all that." Give the writers a doggie biscuit!

Waaaayyy back in the famous campfire scene in Callisto, Xena worried about whether she would be able to stay under control if something happened to the ones she loves the most. In Ties That Bind, we saw her totally lose it when she thought her father had been murdered. This time, we see the cruelest cut of all: the murder of her son. But she stays in control. Xena's rage is tangible. She shoots an arrow from a compound bow right through Callisto. (Yee-ow! Do you know how much force that would take?) She inconsolably rejects the counsel and comfort of anyone who offers it. She pummels the stuffing out of Callisto with her bare hands. But she's in control. She makes and executes a plan to take care of Callisto. She's not in warlord mode: everyone else is allowed to keep their heads intact. In the midst of all the nastiness that's happened, Xena (and Gabrielle) can be proud that she didn't fall back into Warrior Princess mode. At least, not right away: her next test is to see whether she can keep that up under the pain and loneliness she's going to be dealing with and without the support of Gabrielle. But for now, at least, she's planning to "live with (her) pain" instead of burying or being buried by it.

Gabrielle is, at heart, an optimist, and still an idealist. Her daughter's dead by her own hand, her relationship with the person closest to her in the world is in ruins, the death of at least two, maybe more, innocent people lies partially on her head. It's no wonder she considered drinking what was left of the poison. But the only thing that would keep her from it is the conviction - the hope, pardon the word - that the situation will improve, that somewhere must be a way to put the pieces of her life together again. Thank goodness, Gab still has hope, much as she might protest it at the time.

The Rift starts brewing from the beginning of the episode. Xena and Gabrielle spend almost the entire show separated from each other. Xena involves herself in Solan and Kaleipus, and Gabrielle turns to Ephiny, then Hope. But other than Ephiny, all of these people are dead by the end of the show, and both Xena and Gab have lost their primary source of comfort and companionship, each other. They're in the midst of the greatest crises of their lives without a soul to depend on. At the very end of the episode, when things are at their worst, Gabrielle gives her last-ditch effort to remind them both that she still loves Xena, and the knowledge of it hits Xena like a brick, but it's not enough to bridge the pain between them right now. Presumably it will later, because the XenaStaff has PROMISED this is gonna work out. Right, XenaStaff? RIGHT, GUYS?


This commentary is by KSZoneW.

The rift finally begains to expload in this episode. After all that Xena and Gabrielle went through to get here, the episode called "Maternal Instincts" was worth waiting through 7 weeks of reruns and 2 new comedy episode to see. I have no complaints about this episode and no hate for it. It was well done and Flat Earth gets my praise for excellent work on the special effects.

Callisto was at her evil best in this episode. Hudson Leick did a great job as Callisto and the new goddess Callisto is perfect. The sceen where Callisto has been shot with arrows and uses her powers to throw the arrows back at the warriors was super cool. It was probally the best special effects display ever done on Xena, next to Dahaks altar in "Deliverer". Callistos fight with Xena was also very good and maybe there best fight yet. Callistos apperance out of fire is also something to marvel and remember. Callisto also had the episodes best lines as they gave me a few laughs and added some comedy into a more serious episode. Callisto and Hope are the perfect team of evil devlish villans. The way Callisto seemed to care less about life was to me, just a bunch of her boredom of living forever. Perhaps Callisto could also careless because her godly powers make it too easy to kill. It really does not matter because Callisto was wonderful and the battle between Callisto and Xena was one of the best fight sceens between the two in all the Callisto episodes. The second best was in the ‘Callisto" episode when the ladys fight on the ladders and shoots.

Hope was a wonderful villan in this episode. Amy Morrison was great as a evil little witch. I liked the end results of Hope being evil. Hope really had an attitude toward her mother Gabrielle, as she said "Bye Bye Mommy" in a snotty like voice. Hope and Gabrielle reunion was emotional for Gabrielle and Hope showed some emotion but was it all just a act to gain her mothers love and confidence and possibly break it away soon after ? The love that Gabrielle showed for Hope was real but I don't think the things Hope said about mommy, being that she was scared and worried, where real or even close to real. I think Hope was appealing to Gabrielles lightside and her softnes and goodness and hope that good prevails. Hope used it and Gabrielle was willing to save a evil gods life and hide her from Xena yet AGAIN. Was it wise ? Maybe not and thats where Gabrielle finally comes to senses and makes the toughest choice by putting poison in Hope and killing her, thus making Gabrielle kill her own child. I have to give Gabrielle a lot of credit for doing what she did, because it was hard, but she made a good and wise choice, considering that Hope may have killed Gabrielle and Xena on the road, should of Xena welcomed Hope to her and not thought Hope killed Solon. But did Gabrielle do wrong ? I believe Gabrielle did what was right. Xena taught Gabrielle that sometimes you need to do something hard for the greater good and in this case the greater good was likley saved by Gabrielle, when she killed Hope.

Xena and her relationship with son Solon was very good and well done. You would think that Lucy Lawless babysits David Taylor or was his mother. The relationship was very convincing to me. I thought Xenas giving Solon a knuckle sandwich and a hug at episode start showed that xena misses Solon and maybe returned just to see her son. Xena really was ready to tell Solon the truth and almost did when Solon questioned Xena about everyone who loved him dying. Xena accepted to allow Solon to travel with her because it was the best choice. However because Hope killed Solon, Xena lost it all and showed her emotion. Xena went after Callisto, after mourning over her dead son, and trapped Callisto in the cave and saved the other children, because she probally feared that Callisto would kill them all and more people would suffer like her. Gabrielle, in reality was responsible for Solons death, because Gabrielle refused to trust that Xena might be right in ‘Gabrielles Hope" and allowed her demon child to roam freeley over Greece and whereever else.

Xena really can't be blamed because she trusted her warrior instinct and took the facts that Dahak is evil, Hope is a demon like child of Dahak, Hope was playing with the small knife that Golan was holding, and that everyone seemed to think that the child ment evil and harm. Xena put the thoughts together and determined that Hope could possible be evil and death was the way. Combine that with the possibility that even had Hope been good, she still could of turned on Xena and Gabrielle later on and maybe even have killed them in there sleep or in a battle. Both are to fault however I tend to trust Xenas warrior instinct, however do respect Gabrielles maternal instincts. Still I have to think that Dahaks daughter would of done evil regardless of who loved her and didn't. Perhaps it would be more painful for Gabrielle, had Hope turned on Gabrielle.

Solon was a child in trouble. He was likley the victim. He had an uncle that loved him and a mother than loved him but wanted to keep him safe from harm. He had many friends but also many enemys and keeping Solon a secret was the way to stop mad people like Hope and Callisto from knowing about her son, who would have been a target. Hope was explained above so Ill leave her at that. Ephiny was simply a secondary character whos job was too protect the children and stand by Gabrielle and Xena. Was Danielle really pregnant ? She did not look like it. Xenan was cool and its always cool to see a kid centaur.

The whole episode was well written, acted, and produced. I just cant stop praising Flat Earth for the wonderful effects and the actors for some great acting. Lucy Lawless did the emotional mother excellent at the end, and I really think Xena has every right to hate Gabrielle, as Gabrielle does have a right to have a little disrespect for Xena. Gabrielles culpa caused Xenas son to die and forever changed her life, just as Xenas descions caused Gabrielle to get mad and upset. I hope Xena ends up whipping Gabrielles butt in Bitter Suite cause Gabrielle needs to start trusting Xena a little more. Xena has every right to be mad. Gabrielles appology to Xena was touching and nice but Xenas refusel to accept it was well done because Xena was moarning Solons death and needed some time off. Perhaps Gabrielle made another mistake. Actually she did make a mistake. I can't blame Xena for her refusel to accept the "sorry" and forgive Gabrielle. Gabrielle has become softer than ever and hopefully understands where Xena is coming from.

Maternal gets my 5 out of 5 stars rating. The episode was a mystery one with some dark subjects and some pretty funny lines from Callisto. Great drama, action, and emotion shown. The story was great and the two villans where at there evil best. The situation of which the episoded started was perfect to mold out the acutal storyline and the episode promo was welldone in giving away nothing major, as they failed to mention Xenas son being killed and only showed a laying down boy on Xenas lap. This one is for anyone. Kids under 9 may not be able to withstand the fighting and intense action. Parents may want to decide for themselves. Teens and young adults will love the action and special effects and storyline. Adults will enjoy the whole thing. Older people might be afraid of parts but will likley not hate this episode. Crazed fans who cant stand the rift will want to skip this episode and watch "A Day in the Life" for the next few weeks so they dont have to complain. I enjoyed it way to much. Did you ? Please email me any comments or thoughts you have on this episode. Ill glady chat about it or anything else that Ive wrote about on whoosh.


04-12-00. This commentary is by Philip Teo.

When I first learned of Callisto's return here, I was rather thrilled. Ever since Callisto made her appearance on Xena, I felt that her presence added more suspense to the series and a challenge for Xena.

The story said that Hope released Callisto from the lava pit. But from the way it was shown, Hope certainly had no intention of releasing Callisto. She was just playing with her ball! And why did Hope faint at the sight of Callisto? I don't get the connection.

It was great seeing Ephiny again. We have not seen her since "A Necessary Evil". And her hair has grown ever since. She is so beautiful! I was wondering why did Gabrielle even lie to Ephiny about Hope. I know that this is a terrible secret that Gabrielle is keeping, but it was bad enough to mislead Xena, now she is also lying to Ephiny? And here, Ephiny was running the amazon nation for her.

When Gabrielle brought Fayla to see Xena, I felt that they were whispering too loudly about Solan. Here, Xena wanted to keep mum about Solan, but the three of them, (Xena, Gabrielle and Kaleipus) were speaking too loudly!

When Xena was convincing Solan to heed their advice and go into hiding, I was wondering how did Solan and Xena get so close. After all, Solan grew up with the centaurs and Xena only visited her own son a few times. Why would Solan be on such good terms with someone whom he doesn't even know is his real mother?

When Gabrielle ran into Hope again at the store, Hope did a good job of spilling bits and pieces of information on herself, enough to let Gabrielle know who she was. You could tell that Gabrielle appeared shocked and guilt-stricken. When Ephiny came in after Gabrielle, I thought that she looked a bit suspicious of Hope. Surely, Ephiny knew Gabrielle was hiding something although Gabrielle said she was fine? I mean, even a fool could tell Gabrielle was troubled by Hope's presence, much less believe she was fine?

We move on to the Callisto scene. Why didn't Callisto know it was Gabrielle in the cloaks and thought it was Solan? Gods usually can see things mortals can't. Surely, Callisto should have seen Xena hiding Gabrielle in the cloak before she moved off?

I don't really think Xena intended to fight Callisto in that scene although she drew her sword. It was just play-acting. She knew Callisto was after Solan, and not Gabrielle.

I knew it was a bad thing when they showed Kaleipus heading into that cave. Now, why didn't Kaleipus try to avoid the sword that was flung towards him or at least try to block it? We saw that in a later episode, "Past Imperfect" that Kaleipus could actually fight.

I was wondering if Kaleipus had managed to tell Xena who killed him, would that have made any difference?

It was a rather touching scene when Solan told Xena how much he wanted to live with her and begged with her to let him come along. I could sense the joy in Xena's words as she heard what Solan was saying. After all, her own son cared about her, though not knowing her real identity. What could be more blissful? Xena tearfully mumbled the words "Like family", echoed what Solan said.

Why was it so important who killed Solan? Here we saw Callisto and Hope arguing about who should kill Solan, with Callisto giving in eventually. I thought the story would make more sense if Callisto killed Solan. After all, she always wanted Xena to suffer for her deeds.

I was wondering whether Hope planned all these. How did she know that Gabrielle would send her to where Solan was? It all seemed too easy.

The confrontation between Xena and Gabrielle was spectacular. This was the second time we see a quarrel between the two good friends other than in "Gabrielle's Hope". Gabrielle wanted to strongly believe that Hope was innocent, while Xena firmly believed that Hope was evil. You could sense the tone in Xena's voice, how mad she was. "She is not a child. She's a body, an instrument for evil, that is all!!!" There was such power in her voice.

There was such anguish in Xena's voice as she realised that her son was dead. Xena was so upset that she even drove her best friend away.

Hope should not have pushed it after she won. She keep insisting to Gabrielle that they leave, accidentally blurting out she knew who Solan was. Guess this shows how immature Hope was then. Gabrielle realised with dread that Hope had indeed killed Solan. You could see her expression change dramatically, though she tried to hide it from Hope.

Xena wasn't really fighting Callisto at the village. She was just lashing out like a mad woman. Look how easily Callisto threw our warrior princess aside! This isn't how our warrior princess fights!

Xena got serious in the cave. Watch how many kicks and punches she delivered to Callisto. And Callisto did not retaliate. How odd. Callisto's aim was rather bad too. None of her shots hit Xena. Then again, this is Xena we are talking about.

When Xena jumped out of the way and let the boulder of rocks fall on Callisto, why didn't Callisto get out of the way and yell instead? She is a god, for goodness sake, she could have at least blasted the rocks away or just disappear. What use is being a god if you can't even do that? Even if Callisto was trapped in the boulder of rocks, she could still free herself later on. Why didn't she escape from the cave and waited for Hope to rescue her? ("Armageddon Now")

Xena was really bitter with Gabrielle even after learning that Gabrielle had poisoned her own daughter. Couldn't she have shown a little bit more compassion? It's not easy killing your own flesh and blood, after all.

I could sense the sorrow and bitterness in Xena's voice at the funeral. "I trusted you and you lied to me. Now Solan is dead. My son is dead, because of you." Indirectly, Xena had a point in blaming Gabrielle. After all, if Hope was killed even before she grew up, Solan could still be alive today. But then again, it was not completely Gabrielle's fault. She was only doing what she felt was right at that time, how could she possibly have predicted the events in the future? We know that Gabrielle wouldn't intentionally want Solan to die, and if she could foresee this event coming, I am sure Gabrielle would have done something about it.

It was sad seeing Xena and Gabrielle got their separate ways after the funeral. Is this really the end? Nope, guys, hold your seats. The next episode reveals all. "Maternal Instincts" was exciting. Great job.


01-31-99. Chris Manheim was interviewed by WHOOSH in the February 1999 issue. Here's what she said about HERE SHE COMES...

...Now we come to MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311) which is at the other end of the spectrum. Now you've got this heavy drama going.

[107] Isn't it great? I just love that I can go from farce to melodrama in the space of a series.

[108] Did you feel any particular pressure to perform in that particular episode? You had really heavy-duty characters in there like Callisto and you have the Hope character to deal with.

[109] I was a little nervous about writing Callisto because I had never written her before. But she came pretty easily. She's such a strong character. R.J. created this incredibly strong character and I really understood her point of view on things. I wanted you to be able to believe that Gabrielle would want to have feelings for this evil Hope character and that she could be fooled by her. Even when Gabrielle knows she's evil she could be swayed. It's that back and forth, back and forth. That was interesting. It was also a hard episode to write. You're killing kids. I noticed they played it again at Christmas and I thought "Well isn't that a treat."

[110] An uplifting holiday show.

[111] I couldn't believe it! I thought they were going to run A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) again. Killing kids made me a little nervous to say the least. I made a strong effort not to show anything on camera in terms of the kids' death. That I think would have been beyond the pale, and there was no need. All you needed to know was the emotional reaction because of the deaths. You didn't need to see them die. That was a really tough show to write. But it was a very satisfying show. I thought everyone delivered.

11-20-98. From Beth gaynor. During Danielle Cormack's Q&A at the Cherry Hill Con (08/98), someone noted the short life expectancy of kids on XWP and asked whether Xenon's time on this earth was limited. Danielle's response was "Awwwww, horsie-boy?" As far as Danielle knows, her horsie-boy is still hale and hearty.

01-25-98. Yup. The rift has borne its fruit. Can the ladies ever get beyond this? Can a musical save this show? Stay tuned for next week's BITTER SUITE.

01-21-98. We have been told that the rift-o-meter goes off the scale and is bent beyond recognition at the end of this episode. It segues immediately into THE BITTER SUITE where some of our heroes' issues with one another are "resolved".

01-08-98. Word has it that Ted Raimi misled fans at the Detroit Con on 08/17/97. Apparently Raimi intimated that Joxer would have a hand in freeing Callisto from the lava pit. Word on the street says that Joxer does not even appear in MATERNAL INSTINCT at all! Imagine that!

01-01-98. Well, the rumors are flying afield on this one. The big money is on either Toris or Solan getting offed by Hope, The Demon Child (tm). However there is a long shot that it may be Ephiny. It's a really BIG long shot considering Danielle Cormack is appearing briefly in the next week's BITTER SUITE. But hey, who really stays dead in the Xenaverse? NO ONE I KNOW! Also, heard on the grapevine that Ephiny plays the role of the "one true friend to Gabrielle and Xena". This is lofty enough, but then Joxer plays the role of the "one true friend to Gabrielle and Xena" in BITTER SUITE the next week. I guess the gals are having their "one true friend" in tag teams. Finally, there is news that this might be the first Callisto episode without Joxer! [Okay, okay, you ask "What about A NECESSARY EVIL"; well, if you noticed, EINSTEIN, there were no male parts in that entire episode with males who were deemed worthy enough to have a name, and, Joxer is a male worthy enough to have a name, so LOGICALLY he could not appear in A NECESSARY EVIL without blowing that conceit! So, I do see the absence of Joxer as being the usual course of things -- he was a boy with a name so he wasn't in it. Now, of course, there is another theory that states that Joxer never appears in episodes where Callisto is a goddess...hmmmm]. Don't worry Joxer fans, you will get your fill of the Joxmeister with PRIESTESS, QUILL, BITTER SUITE, and KING CON (however Joxer gets the stuffing beaten out of him there...I guess an episode for both Joxer and Anti-Joxer fans).

10-27-97. Sharon Delaney reported at the Valley Forge Con (10-04-97) that MATERNAL INSTINCTS is the XWP episode in which Callisto returns. She showed a slide of Callisto with about 20 arrows sticking in her. Sharon further said that while she was on the phone, she overheard, "Come to Aunty Callisto." Food for thought. [Conjecture is that Auntie Callisto adopts Hope].

10-20-97. Hudson Leick at Valley Forge XenaCon (10-04-97) when asked when her next episode [MATERNAL INSTINCTS] would air, she said probably around Christmastime, and it was a really dark one. She sounded very proud of it, but when asked for details, like "Who dies?" she responded "I'm not saaaayyyyyyiiiiing!"

10-15-97. Okay we have no idea when this will be aired, but since it really looks like it is part of the 6 episode cycle which began with Deliverer, we are going to venture that this will be aired after King of Assassins. Some contacts have said it might be aired as late as February 1998! Let's hope not, because it looks like this will be the episode the ladies reunite.

10-0-97. British magazine SFX (issue unknown) wrote: "...Gabrielle returns to her Amazon sisters after being forced to kill in self-defense - and giving birth to a demon child!...Maternal Instincts: The Rift saga continues as Callisto returns to cause trouble for Gabrielle, the Amazons, and their pregnant queen Ephiny" IT IS THE RIFT SAGA. No longer a trilogy, it is a saga. You'd think these people would do the rift, the baby, and the loss of blood innocence at separate times (HEY!!! STAR TREK WOULD DO IT THAT WAY...and BABYLON 5 would take a season to do JUST THE RIFT!), but no, it looks like everything PLUS the pre-Mycenaean sink is in this SAGA. Perhaps making up for THE FURIES? Well, let's hope the dark promised in the Rift Saga will really be dark, not be dark because the cloud coverage was high during filming. And let's hope the Three Stooges were exorcised when the Furies released Xena!

The conclusion of the "intense" trilogy, but merely the third in six episodes which finish playing out the scenario introduced by the Rift Trilogy....or so we are led to believe. This looks like it will be quite the show -- a return to what made A NECESSARY EVIL so hot and such a rating's magnet. A NECESSARY EVIL was the end of the DESTINY trilogy, featured the Amazons, and the spanking new goddess Callisto. It also attained this highest XWP ratings to date with 7.7. MATERNAL INSTINCT is at the end of the "Rift" Trilogy, features the Amazons, and the "maturing" goddess Callisto. Is this another bid at high ratings? It is airing dab smack in the November sweeps.

Ted Raimi intimated at the 8/17/97 Detroit Con that Joxer helps Callisto escape from the Lava pit where she was seen spotted in A NECESSARY EVIL. Also, Gabrielle returns to the Amazons (she just canna keep away!) while Xena deals with her wild and dark side and Joxer just remains...Joxer.

The Amazons and Callisto are back and most likely has something to do with Gabrielle's kid. This is also rumored to be the last episode of the soon to be infamous Rift Trilogy. One more dark episode remains of the first five dark episodes....the first four being THE FURIES, DELIVERER, GABRIELLE'S HOPE, and MATERNAL INSTINCT. Ephiny saves the day, or at least that is how Danielle Cormack spins it! Mark Beesley is a New Zealander director.

In an interview, Ms. Cormack said of this episode, "Now Ephiny is going back to help out with Gabrielle and Xena. She's [Ephiny] with child now, of course, *and* Queen of the Amazons, so she's got a lot on her plate...My role in the next appearance is to help Gabrielle. This episode has Callisto in it as well, so you can imagine it's going to be very intense. Callisto comes back, and so Ephiny is rounding up children and helping Gabrielle. My role is to be a really good friend of Gabrielle's now. And an ally with Xena."

In the same interview, Ms. Cormack continued, "In this episode coming up there's a lot of that [Ephiny explaining why the future is important]. Ephiny is really supporting Gabrielle and making decisions. There's a point where Xena is at a loss and Ephiny is the one who comes along and says "Come on, let's go." Because Ephiny has helped Xena and Gabrielle out, and they keep crossing paths, there's more of an opportunity for these types of scenes, which is better than just running around beating up people... well nearly!"


Highlights by Beth Gaynor.

The scene at the funeral pyres is a masterpiece of blocking and set design; every inch is put together to separate Xena and Gabrielle. We've seen our share of pyres in this series, and every time before, Xena and Gab were shoulder to shoulder, if not closer. This time, they're standing apart. The pyres are lined up in front of each woman and form a canyon between them. The mourners stand behind and between them to emphasize the gulf. A small stream of water even separates them. There's a chasm that seems insurmountable between these two women from the very first shot in this scene. And at the end, they walk away in opposite directions. This is going to take a mending job worthy of a blacksmith's forge.

The scene when Xena discovers Solan's body can be watched about a half-dozen times and still be freshly painful, but fantastic drama. Gabrielle's horrified reaction and Xena's refusal to let her near. Xena's heart-breaking line "Your mom's here... just like you always wanted," followed by those horrible screams. Callisto's reaction when she hears the sound she's been desiring for years (remember "I long to see you wailing over the body of your friend"?), then the way her face falls when she realizes that her soul isn't magically restored. That's a LOT of emotions packed into 30 seconds.


From Nikalaos. My favorite highlights include the hairbrush scene and when Callisto thinks gab is Solan in the cloak. Watch her dissatisfied, blank reaction as she mutters, "Gabrielle." To die for! I also love the acrobatics in the cave when Cal throws the lightning bolts. Although I have to say that it disturbed me to see Xena doing a bad Superman routine by "flying" out of the cave. What ever happened to "Ay-yi-yi . . ." big acrobatics handspring sommersault thing?


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

11-20-98. In the "fun with camera angles" department, watch Gabrielle's arms when she points her staff at the person who has snuck into the hut. When she's shot from the front, her back arm is up and over the staff. When seen from behind, the arm is tucked under.

Ephiny's sword pommel has the symbol for woman on it: the circle with the line drawn down from it. (I'm sure there's an actual name for that symbol; I just have no idea what it is.)

When Callisto and Velasca went into the lava pit, they both had those all-white eyes as an apparent side-effect of the ambrosia. But when Callisto emerges, her eyes are back to normal. Maybe once you've been a god for a while, you can pick your eye color again? I'm glad they did that, continuity be damned: Callisto looks so much more threatening with those dark, cold eyes than she did with the strange monster whites.


11-20-98. From KSZoneW. Ephiny mentions that Xena helped Boadicea defeat Caesar during the conversation with Gabrielle during the second section of the episode [the writers/creators/guest stars stuff/. Perhaps we now know that Xena and Gabrielle stayed and defeated Caesar or that possibly Caesar retreated to Rome after the incident at Dahaks temple. Possibly the answer lies "When in Rome". The skull in the cave will also appear in the ‘Young Hercules" two hour pilot movie.

11-20-98. From Nikalaos. About the symbol for woman on Ephiny's sword pommel. It is the symbol for Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, as we know as Aphrodite. Mars' symbol (Ares) is a shield/spear thing for man, and Venus' "hand mirror" is for woman.

11-20-98. From KSZoneW. In "Armageddon Now II" they play a small clip of the music that they used in "Maternal Instincts" when Solan asked Xena why everyone he loves ends up dying. The scene in AN2 was where Iolaus told the evil Xena he knew about Solan, and Xena said no one was supposed to know about Solan.

11-20-98. From Bret: Has Ephiny been to Egypt? The symbol on the pommel of her sword sure looks like an ankh! Though it also looks like the symbol for woman -- the symbol that represent the planet Venus.

02-01-98. From Bret: Apparently, when you go to the shop to buy poison, it all comes in the same vial. Note that the vial of poison Gabby uses in MI is exactly like the vial the woman used to kill herself (several times) in BEEN THERE DONE THAT.


Click here to read a transcript of MATERNAL INSTINCTS .


Xena and Gabrielle's relationship was harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Guide Table of ContentsBack to Whoosh!